“Rescue the One” is listed as one of the four “2013 Philippines Area Goals.” It states:
Each member rescues at least one member this year and prepares them to attend the temple.
Every ward council prepares and maintains 15 names for activation by members for the missionaries to teach.
This goal has special meaning to me because of my personal background. I would like to share the story of my rescue as an example of how important it is for us to do everything we can to bring back to the fold those that have lost their way .
On January 13, 2009, while serving as a law professor at Brigham Young University, President-elect Barack Obama, asked me to serve as the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs in the United States Department of the Interior. As Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs, I had responsibility for providing a wide variety of vital services to the 566 tribal nations located within the United States.
I was intending to serve through the first-term of the President and then return to my job as a professor of law at the J. Reuben Clark Law School. However, life changed on February 3, 2012, when I was called to serve as a General Authority of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I was sustained as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy in General Conference on March 31, 2012.
I did not relocate from Washington, D.C. to Salt Lake City, Utah until May of 2012 because the Brethren instructed me to make sure there was a smooth transition upon my departure. As I began my service at Church Headquarters in Salt Lake City, I was looking forward to attending a meeting of all General Authorities located in Salt Lake City that occurs in the Salt Lake Temple on the first Thursday of the month.
My first attendance at this sacred meeting happened on June 7, 2012. I was seated on the back row and shortly after the meeting began I was surprised to hear my name called. President Thomas S. Monson called upon me to come forth and bear my testimony. I arose from my chair, walked to the front of the room and stood next to the First Presidency, with the Twelve Apostles seated directly in front of me. I gave a brief heart-felt testimony. Part of what I said was that as a “convert” it was beyond my wildest dreams to think that I would ever stand in a special room in the Salt Lake Temple and bear testimony in the midst of the Lord’s prophets and apostles. I then said that “this moment would not have been possible had it not been for two missionaries and a priest quorum advisor.” The two missionaries, Lee Pearson and Boyd Camphuysen, taught my family the Gospel of Jesus Christ and then baptized us. The priest quorum advisor, Richard Boren, was the Lord’s instrument in “rescuing” me three years after I was baptized.
Two and a half months later, on August 25, 2012, I presided at my first stake conference as a General Authority in the St. George Utah North Stake. At the conclusion of the Saturday Adult Session of the stake conference I recognized a man who came walking up the aisle to speak with me as I stepped down from the stand. The man was Richard Matthews, my Bishop when I was 16 years old. We had a nice reunion and then he told me something I had never known. He said that about two years after my baptism the Bishopric had been concerned that my path in life had not changed and they thought they were going to lose me. They prayed about me and were inspired to call a man named Richard Boren as the priest quorum advisor to save me.
I will forever be grateful for Bishop Matthews and other ward leaders who counseled together, and prayed and acted upon inspiration from the Holy Spirit, when they sensed that I had not been truly converted and brought into full activity in the Church. I am especially thankful for Richard Boren, who went the extra-mile in an effort to save me. When he could not reach me through the lessons he taught in the priest quorum he befriended me in a special way and found out how to help me succeed in life. Because of him, at the age of seventeen, I read the Book of Mormon and gained a testimony that propelled me to achieve things I never thought were possible and brought me great happiness. My sweetheart and I went into the Salt Lake Temple on December 20, 1968 and were sealed together for time and all eternity by Spencer W. Kimball. More importantly, the fruit of the labors of these priesthood leaders has multiplied in the next generation. Following our temple marriage we have been blessed with six children and 30 grandchildren.
In the Doctrine and Covenants, chapter 18, verse 10, we read: “the worth of souls is great in the sight of God.” Then in verses 15 and 16 it says: “And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father! And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!”
Lee Pearson, Boyd Camphuysen and Richard Boren have all passed on from this earthly life, but I know that they have experienced greet joy in knowing that they were instruments in the Lord’s hands in saving not only one soul, but the numerous posterity of that soul. Bishop Matthews has lived to witness on this earth the fruit of his labor to save the soul of a boy that had been baptized, but had lost his way.
In Matthew 13:3-8, Jesus Christ taught the Parable of the Sower:
“Behold, a sower went forth to sow; And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up;
Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth:
And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.
And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:
But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.”
Jesus Christ went taught that some receive the Gospel and may endure for a while, but when “tribulation or persecution” arise they become “offended” and fall away. Others who at first receive the Gospel let the cares of the world or riches overcome them. Gladly, some receive the Gospel and truly understand it and enjoy good “fruit” in their lives.
The parable of the sower has application in the Philippines. The Restored Gospel has been received by more the 650,000 people in the Philippines. However, not all of them are active in the Church today. There is a particular concern that the “Rising Generation” might be faltering. What should we be doing to bring them back into the fold? The answer to this question is found in the scriptures.
“For the Son of man is come to save that which is lost,” (Matthew 18:11). Our Savior has His heart focused on rescuing His lost sheep. His Prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, has his heart focused on the rescue of the less-active and wayward. Where then should our hearts be focused?
“Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all they mind.
This is the first and great commandment.
And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love they neighbour as thyself.” (Matthew 22:35-39)
In Moses 1: 39 we read: “For behold, this is my work and my glory – to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” If we truly love Our Father in Heaven and His Son, Jesus Christ, it is our responsibility to do their work. We must go find those who are have fallen away and are lost, and bring them back. We must “Rescue the One.”